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Mary McGrory

  • [On Senator Everett Dirksen:] His great enemy was boredom and he won every engagement.

    • Mary McGrory,
    • in Mary McCarthy, Private Faces/Public Places ()
  • [On men:] On their best days, the best of them are eight years old.

    • Mary McGrory,
    • in Mary McCarthy, Private Faces/Public Places ()
  • Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.

    • Mary McGrory,
    • in U.S. News & Report ()
  • My friend Phil has a theory that the Lord, having made teenagers, felt constrained to make amends and so created the golden retriever.

  • [On Italy:] ... the country where kindness to strangers is a religion, you can't turn your head without seeing something beautiful, and you can't get a bad meal if you try.

  • We have a new class in this country: the deserving rich. ... The deserving rich do nice things for each other. Comforting the unafflicted is something that comes naturally to them.

  • [On George H.W. Bush vs. Michael Dukakis:] Americans now know they can vote for a man who can't express his thoughts or a man who can't express his feelings.

  • [On George H.W. Bush:] A man who wishes to lead the Western world should be able to find the right words, string them together in coherent sentences, and steer them to an intelligible conclusion. His sentences have the stuttering start of an old car on a cold morning. They never run smoothly. The only speech part that he has mastered completely is the non sequitur.

  • ... I am hoping for better times. That's how you know us hapless gardeners — by our dirty fingernails and our absurd, unquenchable optimism about next year.

  • Appliances have idiosyncracies, just like us. Unfortunately they have picked up our less attractive traits — they are proud, spiteful, and unforgiving.

  • Baseball has a special place in our hearts. It is the game that shows us as we would like to be.

  • Christmas has long been the festival for the competent here on earth. ... I have friends (and you do, too, I bet) who sail through it all in triumph. They tell you, if you're crazy enough to ask, that they 'picked up' their presents during the summer while on vacation, had wrapped them all by Labor Day, and mailed them on Thanksgiving. ... The Christmas tree holds no terror for them. They whittle the trunk as if it were a carrot, pop it into the stand, juggle strings of lights, know everything about switches, transformers, and balky bulbs. We, the deftness-disadvantaged, cower at the edges, fingering ornaments we will inevitably hang in unsuitable locations.

  • Anyone who has undergone home repair lately knows that your everyday artisan uses language so loosely and makes false promises so glibly as to make your politicians, even the presidential candidate, seem like a model of accuracy and rectitude. 'Be there Wednesday at nine,' the workman will tell you. It is a lie. He is humoring you. He says it to silence you, the way you tell a child you will take it to Disneyland if it will stop crying.

Mary McGrory, U.S. journalist, columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner

(1918 - 2004)